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Intentional Containers: The Power of Convening

Updated: Dec 12, 2023




diverse colleagues in a meeting

“There is always strength in numbers.” ~Mark Shield

 

This classic quote is an example of the power in gathering. However, as of late, I’ve begun to think of this quote a little differently. Yes, this quote affirms the more obvious point that when you have greater numbers supporting a point or position, there is strength and a greater chance of success or victory. However, have you considered the personal strength behind the act of convening in itself? When we convene—come together—there too lies untapped strength and wisdom in the act itself. We convene at work, for retreats, travel with a group of friends, at home around the dinner table, during the holidays, and the list goes on.  


When we convene, we are creating a container that has the potential to support our desires, objectives, and even dreams. Are you tapping into that potential?

 

At Lead For Liberation, we often describe convenings of two or more people as containers. 

 

We perceive relationships as containers. As a vessel holds a liquid, an intentional container holds the meeting and sharing of two or more people. The container itself is comprised of the agreements and commitments we’ve made to each other and the boundaries that define the space that we share.

When we co-create containers, we put thought and care into why and how we gather. We don’t gather solely to move through agenda items like a checklist, we gather to see and understand the individuals in the room and be intentional about the experience we curate and share with one another. Doing so leads to collective interest and investment in not only the outcomes of the collective, but the relationships between each member. Everyone cares and is invested in each other and what the collective accomplishes. When we co-create intentional containers we also allow space for evolution and growth. We are not stagnant beings, we evolve, and grow, and so should our containers. They are malleable and should adapt to meet the changing needs of the collective.

 

When was the last time you created an intentional container? If it’s been a while, it’s never too late. During your next meeting, invite feedback about what would better support collaboration and investment in the larger collective. Express your desires to create an intentional container and remember—that requires everyone's input. Listen to what is shared and incorporate their requests. Cycle through this process of reflection and feedback as a monthly practice to release the pressure of feeling like you have to incorporate everything all at once. 

 

Convening doesn’t have to always be a retreat or formal “gathering.” While those are indeed wonderful, we also each have the power to cultivate intentional containers. When we do this, we attune to the human connections around us, allow space for our humanity to be honored and strengthened, and work together to generate outstanding outcomes. There is always strength in numbers…in convening.

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